Tommy is dead. There is nothing that can be done to change that. He died thousands of miles away fighting for the vague idea of freedom but more likely fighting for the guys beside him. He was fighting to get home and fighting to get rid of terrorism. Regardless of my thoughts on the war we are fighting in Afghanistan, Tommy died in service of something much larger than himself and that is something not everyone can or is willing to do. I haven’t really spoken to Tommy since his farewell party over five years ago but Facebook kept me up to speed. He had joined up and rose through the ranks to become a Fire Team Leader and Sergeant in the Green Berets. He was the first of my friends to leave and become something. He had a family. He had a home. I, myself, have no job and a room in a duplex. Tommy became the all-American badass, and someone worth looking up to. I did.
Like most other social news, I found out about Tommy’s death through Facebook. I had never really thought about The War on Terror much or how it constituted an actual war or how it meant that there were people out there fighting and dying every fucking day in all sorts of countries in the name of this war. This was the first time the war mattered to me and the first time I actually wanted to do something instead of just my usual detached response, ‘Oh yea man war is bad,’ then continuing to watch King of the Hill. I felt guilty that it took something like this to get me to actually start to care about this shit.
I also realized that we as a country are kind of always at war with someone. We have been fighting an enemy since we first arrived. First it was the Native Americans, then the French, then the Brits, then the Native Americans again, then the Mexicans, then the Native Americans again, then ourselves, then the Germans (twice), then the commies, then the ‘dictators’, and now the even more vague ‘terrorists’ who can be anyone. At least back in the day we had some focus. We have been grilling and killing for so long that it is easy to forget the amount of actual violence that goes into these things. It’s the reason why Tommy and countless other soldiers like him are gone. I’ll never be able to reminisce with Tommy about the time we were in a high speed pursuit with a bike cop, and that’s fucked up.
Tommy, if for whatever reason science is wrong and you are hanging out in the great beyond reading this, thank you for all of the awesome times. You were one of the funniest people I have ever met and you will not be forgotten soon.
I’ll sign off as you used to in order to rock the system.